Today is the shortest day of the year and we have decided to build a new tradition.
We decided to make a new tradition for a couple of reasons. The holidays we were brought up celebrating, and that are widely celebrated in our part of the world, are very much set up for the Northern Hemisphere seasons. As we are in the Southern Hemisphere we have a large gap with no public holidays and celebrations during winter when we need them most.
We also recently were doing some homework with our daughter about her ancestors. We found she has ancestors from England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Germany, Czechoslovakia and the Ukraine, which is quite a range of countries and cultures. We realised that there are no particular traditions that we follow because of our ancestors – generally the funny or special things that just we do are from our recent family history. This is something I don’t mind – I enjoy the freedom and ability to build our own traditions. We just haven’t built a large number of strange things that only our family does.
These two things combined with a Ted Talk that talked about the importance of traditions and rituals encouraged us to start a new tradition this year. We talked to the kids about how ancient cultures had followed all kinds of rituals on the shortest day of the year to make the sun come back. We told them that obviously this wasn’t needed, and the sun will come up tomorrow regardless of what we do, but that sometimes it was fun to have traditions to follow. The things we will be doing today (as planned so far) are
- taking the kids to the supermarket to do a shop for the food bank.
- Eating souffle for dinner.
- Going out after dark to look at the moon and the stars.
- Howling at the moon like wolves.
Some of those things (supermarket, moon and stars) were chosen by the parents as ways to appreciate our lives, do something good for other people and make the day slightly special. We told the kids that they could add any ideas they wanted, which is why we will be howling at the moon – a lovely and silly addition. The souffle was my choice for dinner, as a joke, as the souffle rises so will the sun (I hope the jolly thing rises!).
I hope that we continue to build new traditions in Spring, Summer and Autumn as they arrive. Maybe I’ll learn Terry Pratchett’s Dark Morris before Autumn so I can make my family do that with me. http://wiki.lspace.org/mediawiki/index.php/Dark_Morris